Married Dialog

Do you know what it means to have a dialog with your spouse? Father Nicolás teaches that fostering dialog in marriage means much more than a simple exchange words.
by Father Nicolás Schwizer | Source:

To begin with, we have to distinguish between talking and dialoging. All married couples talk, exchange words. But that is not dialog because they are not sharing their inner-selves. Rather it is a conversation about exterior things.

To dialog means to share oneself intimately with one’s spouse. It means to enter into communion with each other. It means to open one’s heart and to show who one is on the inside, with personal anxieties, and hopes. Dialoging is an exchange of hearts, a fusion of hearts.

I have no doubt that the lack or weakening of married dialog is the greatest problem that modern marriages face and that it is the cancer of marriage because it destroys marriage from within. Health problems, living conditions, economic problems can be very worrisome, but they are external. They certainly threaten love from the outside. On the contrary, the lack of dialog wounds the root of love, the essence of love.

Love is communion.
Love is giving of oneself and it is tested through dialog. The weakening of dialog necessarily brings along with it the weakening of tenderness, of attentiveness, of understanding, of respect. It weakens everything which concerns love. Ultimately, it no longer values the spouse as a person, as the main object of one’s love and it begins to consider the other as a “partner,” as a “co-manager” of the family, etc. The love between partners is not enough to fill a spouse’s heart.

What are the causes for this lack of dialog?

1. We do not have time.
The rhythm of life today works against true dialog. We are in such a hurry that we do not have time. One cannot open up one’s heart in a minute and a half. To talk about the deep things we are carrying: worries, troubles, desires of the soul, one needs time. One needs to prepare the atmosphere and then slowly everything comes out. Time is needed, but there is no time. The little time that is left is probably devoured by that little box, that devourer of time and dialog, the television, or the computer.

2. The sense of dialog has been lost.
We live in an impersonal world. We live in a world that centers itself around things. Society is centered around unrestrained consumption. Truthfully, we all talk. We know how to talk better than ever before, but we always talk about things. It is a functional conversation, a necessary dialog, or better said, we speak what is necessary so that things can continue functioning, so that the mechanics of the home can continue on course. So that it can continue functioning, we must iron, cook, pay the bills, go to the children’s schools, or buy shoes for the children. One speaks about all of these things, but there is little or no dialog on personal things, on intimate things

Relying on God’s Grace.
Then one is astounded by how God works miracles, because there are many marriages that stay together miraculously. According to all of the laws of psychology, they should be separated since they have not dialoged for years. The human being has the need for interior exchange and if he/she does not find it at home, perhaps he/she will find it outside of the home; for example, with the co-worker or the neighbor. Thus the destruction of the marriage may begin.

Nevertheless, this does not happen in many marriages in spite of the fact that they have not dialoged in years. This then can only be explained as a miracle from God who takes care that neither one of them meets someone else who can offer them a little bit more than what the spouse offers. For married spouses, not dialoging for such a long time is playing with fire. It is like being on the edge of the cliff. It puts love at risk; it shatters love; it is lacking in the promise to make the spouse happy.

A union of love, a covenant union cannot exist without dialog. The same thing happens with our Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother. The same thing happens in the relationship with our children.

Questions for Meditation
1. How is our dialog?
2. Do we not have time or do we not make time?
3. Do we talk about ourselves or about things or about others?

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